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Vice-Chancellor Message – 09 June 2023

Dear UJ Community,

For the first time since I assumed duties in my new role as the University Registrar, I have the honour to address you on this platform as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal (Acting). You can imagine how excited I was when Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi asked me to stand in for him while he is away on a working trip to the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. He is leading a UJ delegation attending a conference on Universality of the Rule of Law: Sustainable Development.

The conference is a collaboration between the UJ Faculty of Law and the University of Ljubljana, one the oldest and largest higher education and scientific research institutions in Slovenia. During his visit, UJ and the University of Ljubljana also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the partnership and ties between the two institutions. I wish the UJ delegation only the best, and hope the MoU will yield other strategic partnerships with the University of Ljubljana.

Special Doctorate conferral and Lecture

Still on international affairs, UJ and the College of Business Economics will this coming Monday, 12 June 2023, confer a Special Honorary Doctorate to Mariana Mazzucato, a Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL); Prof Mazzucato is also the Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). The conferral is in recognition of her contribution to societal development in the area of business and economics and related fields.

Prof Mazzucato’s current roles include being Chair of the World Health Organization’s Council on the Economics of Health for All, amongst others. She is the recipient of several international prizes, and was named as one of the ‘3 most important thinkers about innovation‘ by The New Republic, one of the 50 most creative people in business in 2020 by Fast Company, amongst others. The event will take place at the UJ Arts Centre, at 16:00.

Professorial Inauguration

Please join me in congratulating  Professor Mdutshekelwa Ndlovu (Vice Dean Research & Postgraduate Studies: Faculty of Education), who was inaugurated into the UJ Professoriat on Wednesday evening. During his professorial address, he shared insights on how one can make use of digital tools to enhance the experience of students learning STEM subjects, in particular mathematics. Professor Ndlovu, I wish you all the best with your new academic journey. Well done!

UJ Management Executive Committee Breakaway

Following the UJ Executive Leadership Group meeting last week, as is our tradition, the UJ Management Executive Committee (MEC) had a follow-up breakaway. At this breakaway, we looked both retrospectively and prospectively. Aside from expressing deep appreciation to the UJ staff community for the numerous accolades that we report on weekly, we looked strategically at what it’ll take for a stable and sustainable future.

Accolades for UJ Arts and Culture

I was thrilled to learn that the UJ Arts & Culture and Madevu Entertainment have won an awe-inspiring eight Naledi Theatre Awards for their production Hlakanyana – The Musical, hosted on 5 June 2023 at the Joburg Theatre. The Naledi Theatre Awards recognise excellence in theatre over the previous year (2022). Hlakanyana – The Musical, commissioned for the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) Interdisciplinary Theatre Programme, was conceived, workshopped, written, and scored online during the extended COVID-19 lockdown. To see the list of UJ Arts & Culture and Madevu Entertainment wins spread across several categories, click here.

I am immensely proud of the cast and crew members of this production – this is an outstanding achievement that signifies the importance of art as something that transcends far beyond cultural borders. Through impassioned debates, art can be an agent for social change in a manner that builds better communities, thereby contributing to nation-building.

UJ Library leads

Congratulations to Prof Maria Frahm-Arp (Executive Director: Library and Information Centre) who has been appointed as the Vice Chair for the board of EMEA region (Europe, Africa and Middle East) for OCLC, the second largest supplier of library products and resources in the world. As Vice Chair of OCLC EMEA region, Prof Frahm-Arp will bring the needs of the Global South to the centre of the conversations with OCLC.

Kea leboha, ngiyabonga, baie dankie, thank you!

Professor Bettine van Vuuren: Vice-Chancellor and Principal (Acting)

Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.

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